Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Something different

I've never been a big fan of peaches. I don't dislike them, I just don't gravitate towards them. I can't even remember the last time I had a peach.

The other day I stopped at a fruit vendor on 58th and Park and impulsively grabbed a peach to go with the usual staples: carrots, bannanas. I don't know what made me decide to go for the peach, it wasn't as if it was the finest representation of the fruit I'd ever seen. It wasn't a craving I'd had prior to seeing the pile of peaches on the vendor's cart. I hadn't seen an advertising photograph of a juicy, ripe peach split open with morning dew on its furry skin with a blurb about the wonders of antioxidants. Out of the blue I simply wanted that peach.

After I'd bought it I forgot about it. It sat in a bag on my desk at work all day, I carried it home, and it sat on my kitchen counter. Even my insane, fruit-eating cat didn't bother with it. Apparently even my cat is not a big peach fan. The dog could care less.

But I have let too much fresh produce go bad because I lose the mood after a buying furor at a really good grocer or am too much of a lazy cook to prepare the meal I originally bought them for - I wasn't going to let this one stupid peach rot.

I cut it open yesterday morning... it was, quite simply: fantastic. Possibly the best peach I've ever had. Fully ripe, juicy without being sloppy, the flesh firm but yielding, sweet and flavorful. I was amazed that I'd picked such a great piece of fruit.

On my way home that evening I decided I needed to have more peaches in my life. I stopped at a green grocer and bought two Georgia peaches; they were the variety that most resembled the one I'd bought from the street-side vendor.

I washed it in happy anticipation, I cut it open and sliced it into sections, put it in a bowl and sat down to experience the delight of my new-found fruit obsession.

It wasn't a great peach. It was okay, but it was more like the type of peach that I was used to. There was nothing special about it. There wasn't a blemish on it, but wasn't particularly flavorful, not particularly juicy. It was good, not great, just a peach: not an experience.

Okay so you can't force serendipity - obviously. But you can be open to it. There are so many seemingly tiny things in life that we don't pay enough attention to, are too busy to fully experience, that we allow to be mundane when in fact they are miraculous. Something as ordinary as grabbing a peach from a fruit cart and discovering perfection can open your eyes - if you let it.

I may never find a perfect peach again. I may not even try. But then again... there may be more out there that are even better, even more sublime. We get so stuck in our routines, bananas, carrots, that we forget that there are peaches, and that we can have them - we can have anything. Everything on this earth is here for all of us, if we want it - if we aren't too closed off or afraid to try.

I bought some fresh figs this morning. Wish me luck!

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